Image: Unsplash, Pexels
In my first year, I lived with three other girls I had never met before in an old, musty townhouse on UTM soil sharing one washroom. It took some time adjusting to a new environment and new people. We made a lot of fun memories like taping balloons everywhere for a friend’s birthday and watching funny movies together (I recommend Vacation, it got me loudly snorting). Although I didn’t choose these roommates, we were able to live in peace with one another and make good memories for first year.
In second year, I had the choice of choosing who to live with. I thankfully got to live with one of my longtime friends, and three other people who we met through different classes. Luckily, we all got along well. It was stressful finding a place to live but also finding the right people to live with. Now, you won’t know how well you actually get along with someone until you live with them. So far, we’ve currently been living peacefully together thanks to doing these five things.
1. Have Open Communication
Image: Erin Ho, Personal Photo
I cannot stress this enough, be honest and have open communication with your roommates!!! Making house rules helps clear the air and lay down the “law” in the house. If you don’t like something, like them leaving their stuff everywhere, tell them! Be honest with each other, you both deserve that. Honesty does go a long way and allows you guys to create a safe space to talk about things you don’t like, have accountability, and bring up important matters to discuss. It’s better to let things out then to keep it in and eventually blow up at each other. So be honest, talk about it, and try to understand and help each other!
2. Embrace Each Other’s Differences
Image: Disney, Giphy
Now, living with people you come across everyone’s own personal lifestyle and habits. Learn to embrace the differences each one has and to be understanding instead of judgmental. For example, one of my roommates from first year would take two hours to complete her shower and skincare routine. She would use like 45 bottles, walking in and out of the bathroom to fetch each one to apply it. At first, I thought it was a ridiculous amount of time and effort for hygiene. Just hop in the shower for 20 minutes, apply a couple of skin creams, and you’re good to go! Thankfully, she was the last one to shower so her routine wasn’t holding anyone up. I learned to accept her routine and even learned a few skincare tips from her (like pat, don’t rub face cream in). So embrace each other’s differences and you might learn something new from them!
3. Respect One Another
Image: Erin Ho, Personal Photo
I hope this is a no brainer. Just as honesty goes a long way, so does respect. Respect each other’s space, belongings, beliefs, values, etc. When there’s respect, there’s understanding and carefulness in not pushing or over stepping boundaries. Having respect for each other opens up a safe space to discuss about things. Respecting their values, items, space, and etc. shows that you care for them. When respect is given, respect is also received.
4. Spend Time with Each Other
Image: Adventure Time, Giphy
You don’t just have to live together; you can hang out as well! Amazing, right? You don’t even have to go out to have fun, something simple like making dinner for everyone or watching a movie at home is sufficient enough. Even if you’re schedule is packed, make time for each other. It can be simple as going grocery shopping together or even studying in the library together. Spending time with each other is how you strengthen your relationship, grow closer, and feel like a family!
5. Find Balance Between Your Alone Time and Social Time
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This is where respect and open communication comes in. You don’t have to feel obligated to always hang out with friends and roommates. When you feel like you need to recharge by having alone time, let them know. It’s okay to. You need it and so do they. Spending too much time together and too much time apart isn’t good. Find the balance between both to live comfortably.
I hope by doing these things, not only will you guys live peacefully together but reach a level of comfort and trust like in Friends.
Image: Sage, Headoverfeels
There will always be conflicts and tensions. But if you both work at resolving it, then that’ll strengthen the relationship instead of damage it. So remember to:
- have open communication
- embrace each other’s differences
- respect one another
- spend time together
- and find balance between your alone time and social time ☺
If you’ve lived with roommates, how was your experience? What are some lessons you learned from living with them?